back to article Mobile data is getting slower, faster

US cities have seen a massive crash in LTE data speeds this year - but consumers haven’t noticed as latencies are getting lower. According to TwinPrime’s State of Mobile Performance, T-Mobile has emerged as the fastest mobile operator in the US and many European countries. The survey also shows Europe continues to enjoy faster …

  1. Bassey

    US Data Rates seemed rubbish

    I've just got back from a trip to the US travelling around New York city and then upstate. I used a UK 3 SIM with the "Feel at Home" package which used T-Mobile for roaming. And it was shocking. In New York City I was getting a full 5-bar signal with 4G but it often wasn't fast enough to load google maps. Even getting enough data to call a cab on Uber was a few minutes wait. Upstate things were a bit different. It was often 3G rather than 4 (and occasionally Edge) but at least there was enough bandwidth to get actually things done. But in and around the city (Harlem, Central Park, Upper East Side, Lower Manhatten) data rates were shocking to none-existent. I actually gave up on using mobile data and was just relying on "borrowing" wifi from nearby stores and cafes.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: US Data Rates seemed rubbish

      Not really a fair way to measure. It's quite likely that the deal which 3 has with roaming partners allows them to throttle your traffic in order to privilege their own users. It could, of course, simply be that the cells you were in were swamped with traffic: doesn't take many people watching or uploading video to do this. LTE will over time ameliorate this as the all IP infrastructure should make it easier to handover to local friendly wifi spots in places like cities where it can be difficult to install more aerials.

      Otherwise it would seem that T-Mobile's attempts to influence user behaviour (all you can eat video but at lower resolution) might be paying off. No doubt they'll be excitedly pointing to this report.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: US Data Rates seemed rubbish

      You could say the same for the UK in Scotland...

      I was near a cell tower and could only get 2G during peak times due to so many punters on the trains.

      That meant no data but voice only... So during these periods, my hotspot was useless.

    3. Andre Carneiro

      Re: US Data Rates seemed rubbish

      It's probably more of a Three issue, to be honest.

      The whole Feel at Home thing is much better on paper than in real life. Every time I used it it (Portugal, Austria, Spain) it has been SO slow (irrespective of signal strength) as to being virtually unuseable.

      There's still nothing like forking out for a native SIM if you're travelling to the same country for more than, say, a week or so...

    4. Malcolm Hall

      Re: US Data Rates seemed rubbish

      "Feet at home" is tunnelled back to the UK and capped. Next time go in a t-mobile store and ask for the tourist sim, $30 for 3 weeks and experience the true speed of LTE it is quite astonishing compared to the UK.

  2. paddy_

    India LTE Coverage

    "India has seen LTE coverage rocket from 5 per cent in 2015, to 23 per cent in the first half of 2016"

    Geographic or potential user coverage?

    1. Cuddles

      Re: India LTE Coverage

      "Geographic or potential user coverage?"

      And the same question for the US. The article claims Verizon has coverage over 95%, but given the huge tracts of nothing in parts of the US I really doubt that can be geographic. Getting that kind of coverage in a small, densely populated place like the UK seems to be tricky (or at least expensive) enough.

      1. Alistair

        Re: India LTE Coverage

        @ Cuddles: Us Canucks can show you huge tracts of nothing. Them yanks have some bald patches, thats all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: India LTE Coverage

          Some bald patches...some? As a US citizen who has traveled the US, if the 95% coverage was based on geo., the wireless companies would be flat broke. Honestly, I seriously doubt any company has enough money to cover that bill...this would be "bailout" figures.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby

            Re: India LTE Coverage

            Nobody bases coverage on geo but on percentage of population. (You can see that little fine print in their marketing claims. )

            As to geo coverage... funny thing... we all pay in to a fund that is supposed to provide parity to those living in the rural sections of the US. While they aren't so last century... there's still a huge gap.

            I remember 15 years ago that people still bought analog bag phones for their trucks because they couldn't get a signal from their digital phones. That's slowly changed.

            I also remember my father-in-law, begging to lease a small 1 acre patch to the phone company to put up a tower on his land so that we could get good cell coverage in the area. They refused ...

        2. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Alistair ... Re: India LTE Coverage

          That's because no one wants to live in Canada. ;-P

          1. Alistair

            Re: @Alistair ... India LTE Coverage


            Given the political mess south of us lately..... You may have the wrong target there.

            :P right back atcha

      2. PghMike

        Re: India LTE Coverage

        These guys almost always talk, when you read the fine print, about covering N% of the population.

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Bloody cat videos. That's the main problem.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If LTE is that slow these days, imagine how slow HSDPA must be. PS Getting 60Mbps down & 41Mbps up in the building I'm in, gotta love those indoor DAS systems. :)

  5. Skymonrie

    I'm an Englishman in...Hong Kong

    A different set of challenges here:

    - Small area to cover

    - One of the most densely populated places in the world

    - People LIVE with their eyes glued to the phone (maybe this one isn't so different, I don't know)

    Every morning on the MTR (tube) you get thousands of people zooming down the island line the majority of people are watching their soaps (Korean soup or Anime most of the time) and it is incredible to comprehend; this is my tell we are living in the future.

    No point to this comment really, just wanted to stop and gape in awe at what's possible as I recall staying up late waiting for a download on dialup back in the day. 1Gbps internet is common here also, I honestly haven't wanted above 100Mbps though, that is plenty fast enough for a home connection...

    1. IsJustabloke
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm an Englishman in...Hong Kong

      I was in Hong Kong last year and was amazed at the extent and quality of the coverage. I've been telling people that Honkers is the society we should have here in the UK! Clean (mostly) safe, reliable cheap transport, relatively cheap to live there too. The latest gadge available (the biggest Apple Store I've ever seen!)

      I loved the place, can't wait o go back.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off topic

    This is off topic but there was a great radio play on R4 yesterday, "Comment is Free"

    A must listen.

  7. PghMike

    T mobile US speeds

    Sitting here in a building in Pittsburgh, and measured 49Mbps download (T Mobile). Yesterday got 33Mbps at this location. I almost always get LTE speeds > 15 Mbps.

    T mobile has a smaller coverage area than some, but I certainly don't see speeds like 2 Mbps; measured speeds are way higher.

  8. Frank N. Stein


    I thought things were just bogging down because I'm on Sprint.

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The Band 4 wagon

    Low and midrange phones usually support just the one most popular LTE band in each sales region. That causes severe congestion on that one channel in urban areas. 3G towers are being converted to LTE in the US so the phone's decision to drop down to a slower rate makes it worse.

  10. Malcolm Hall

    When is the UK getting LTE? The US has had it for a long time now I've only seen 4G here.

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